Today marks a huge day for the U.S. drone industry, I’m talking “one small step for man” news! Finally, after years of waiting, the FAA has officially announced its final rules for commercial drone use and they are very friendly to the industry. No longer will the U.S. be in the backseat, while dozens of other countries drive the commercial drone industry. “According to industry estimates, the rule could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years,” says the FAA press release. Being such huge news, there are numerous blog posts and articles on the announcement for your reading pleasure, not to mention the 624 page Part 107 Rule, so I’ll just get to the key points.
Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg).”
Of course, we at Drone 55 already knew that was going to be the case, hence the name!
“Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must
remain within VLOS of the remote pilot in command and the
person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS.
Alternatively, the unmanned aircraft must remain within
VLOS of the visual observer.”
While this is a bummer because I’m a firm believer in FPV being a safe practice, the optional visual observer is the silver lining. Working with a visual observer, the pilot is able to increase the VLOS.
“Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level (AGL) or, if
higher than 400 feet AGL, remain within 400 feet of a
This is an interesting one, and very encouraging. As it reads, you are allowed to capture aerials of a structure that is higher than 400 ft AGL as long as you are flying within 400 ft of the structure. Sweet!
“Pilot Certification. To operate the controls of a small UAS under Part 107, you need a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating, or be under the direct supervision of a person who holds such a certificate. You must be at least 16 years old to qualify for a remote pilot certificate, and you can obtain it in one of two ways:
-You may pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
-If you already have a Part 61 pilot certificate, other than a student pilot certificate, you must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and you must take a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA."
This is the best news of all, you do not need a traditional pilots certificate to fly a drone! The FAA really did their homework here and understood that the training and experience required to fly a manned aircraft is not applicable for flying an unmanned aircraft, and therefor a drone should have its own airman certificate - a remote pilot certificate. Nicely done FAA.
This is a victory for the drone industry but don’t pop the bottle just yet, the rules wont take affect for 60 days so the floodgates haven’t officially opened.